2012 MLB Playoffs Game 2 Recaps: Cardinals-Nationals, Yankees-Orioles

My look at the playoffs through the lens of WPS, measuring game excitement, continues. If you're partial to analysis of game excitement, not only did the 2012 THT Annual have an article on the subject, but the 2013 Annual will as well. And they are other writers' interpretations, so if you're getting tired of my stuff, you'll have something fresh to pique your curiosity.

Once again, a Washington run in the second drew a prompt crooked number from St. Louis, this time followed up with scores in the two succeeding innings to drain most of the suspense from the game. The Nationals crawled back within four a couple times, but WPS needs more than that to take serious notice, and the Cards' rally in the eighth put the result beyond doubt.

Even with sizable leads, the Cardinals played aggressively. Pete Kozma went first to third on a sac bunt; Jon Jay not only stole second with a six-run lead in the fourth, he hustled himself a triple in the eighth with a five-run cushion. Oh, and there was that wall-crashing catch he made in center. You've probably seen it 53 times by now. Here's number 54.

Bryce Harper is not enjoying his postseason. Oh-for-five In Game One with two whiffs; four Ks in Game Two, and when he did double, he later got thrown out trying to take third in a situation when Washington desperately needed baserunners. He's unfazed by a Cole Hamels plunking, he shrugs off clown questions, bro, but his baptism in the waters of October has made him look so far like the teenaged rookie he is.

Game 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F Nationals 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 4 Cardinals 0 4 1 2 0 1 0 4 X 12 (Series tied 1-1) WPS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Nationals 14 34 7 5 8 3 12 12 0 Cardinals 5 47 9 7 5 3 1 2 X WPS Base: 171.1 Best Plays: 32.3 Last Play: 0.0 Grand Total: 203.4

Yet another one-run victory for the Orioles. An above-average game in excitement, but not far above, though the attendees in Camden Yards made their disagreement with that assessment plain, not to mention audible in Delaware.

Andy Pettitte did not pitch badly in taking the loss. The TV commentators assumed he would not go beyond six innings, but he faced a batter in the eighth. His only problem was the classic matter of bunching his hits in the second and sixth. Wei-Yin Chen did not last as long for Baltimore, but was if anything better while on the bump. He gave up only one run, and that on a fluky play where Ichiro Suzuki dodged not one but two Matt Wieters tags at the plate to score.

The breaks seemed to lean the Yankees' way: the Suzuki dance, along with J.J. Hardy missing his third-base coach's "Go" signal on a two-out grounder that sneaked beneath Derek Jeter's glove, leaving him stranded at third. But Baltimore produced just enough, and snuffed enough New York chances, especially in the seventh (the most exciting half-inning of the night), to hold on for victory.

Game 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F Yankees 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 Orioles 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 X 3 (Series tied 1-1) WPS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Yankees 34 5 11 37 7 12 50 30 Orioles 5 6 41 11 12 18 5 7 X WPS Base: 306.9 Best Plays: 42.7 Last Play: 3.8 Grand Total: 353.4

Two games, and two guaranteed Game Fours on Thursday. That always helps prospects for excitement.

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